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Group A Seems Like Place To Be, But Changes Still Coming For Capitals



Capitals forward Aliaksei Protas

ARLINGTON, V.A. — The Washington Capitals cut right to the chase to open training camp, putting together “Group A” that consists of their regulars. However, head coach Peter Laviolette advises against reading too closely into that list.

The roster consists of the usual faces: Alex Ovechkin, Darcy Kuemper and Charlie Lindgren and more. However, there will be changes day in and day out, and additional experiments with the line combinations as well.

“Every day, there’ll be a couple of different guys in and out of practice, guys that we want to see with our group or guys that are working to compete for a spot,” Laviolette explained. “That doesn’t mean you have to be in our group to compete for a spot, but these are the guys that have a little bit of history with us.”

On Saturday, there were changes. Lucas Johansen, Brett Leason and Aliaksei Protas got a look in that top group, skating with the NHLers just a day after being with Groups B and C, which consist mainly of the young prospects. Joe Snively, Axel Jonsson-Fjallby and Gabriel Carlsson were up there Friday.

READ MORE ON WHN: Washington Capitals Tweak Lines Again, Bring In New Faces On Day 3

In addition to adding new skaters, Washington is also experimenting with different line combinations, as Connor McMichael and Dylan Strome interchange at center, Anthony Mantha and Connor Brown get time on the first and second line wings and more.

That group will continue to change over the coming days. But, most important, no one is reading into anything, especially the young guys.

“I haven’t given much thought to [where I’ll start the season],” Johansen admitted. “I’m just kind of here to prove myself that I can play at this level and in a regular role. So wherever that is, I don’t care. I just want to show them that I’m ready to go.”

In the end, Laviolette encouraged the young players to “make noise” and show them they belong on the team. No one is out yet, and again, anything can happen at camp.

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